Cricketer Phil Hughes has died. He was 25. He was turning 26 on Sunday.
Hughes was playing in the opening day of a Sheffield Shield match between New South Wales and South Australia on Tuesday when he attempted to pull a short ball from NSW paceman Sean Abbott.
The ball struck Hughes in the back of the head, causing him to collapse face first onto the pitch.
He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, placed in an induced coma and underwent an operation to relieve swelling on his brain.
Play was abandoned, along with two other Sheffield Shield matches underway.
Here is the statement from Australian team doctor Peter Brukner:
It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away.
He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday.
He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.
As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.
Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.
Brukner said that Hughes’ injury was incredibly rare in medical history. There were only around 100 cases of the particular injury recorded, he said, and “only one caused by a cricket ball”.
Cricketers, politicians, and celebrities joined in an outpouring of grief on social media.
The 25-year-old son of a banana farmer was from the NSW mid north coast town of Macksville, just south of Coffs Harbour. He made his debut for NSW in 2007 and played for his home state for six years before moving to South Australia in 2012.
He made his debut for Australia in 2009 against South Africa as the youngest cricketer ever to score back-to-back centuries in a test match. But he was subsequently dropped during the Ashes series. Both talented and erratic, Hughes has been in and out of the test side ever since, and was pushing for a return against India next week in Brisbane.
When he started playing one-day cricket in January last year, Hughes became the first Australian batsman in ODI history to score a century on debut. He played in his first Twenty20 for Australia last month against Pakistan.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered his condolences, thoughts and prayers to the Hughes family, saying Phillip was a young man living out his dreams.
“What happened has touched millions of Australians,” Abbott said.
“For a young life to be cut short playing our national game seems a shocking aberration… Australians’ thoughts and prayers are with the Hughes family.”
Throughout his career, Hughes has celebrated some of the most amazing records and achievements in cricket history.
Speaking at a press conference this afternoon Australian Captain Michael Clarke said “it is an understatement to say we are completely devastated”.
Clarke also read a statement from the Hughes family which said:
“We are devastated by the loss of our much loved son and brother Phillip. It’s been a very difficult few days and we appreciate all the support we have received from family, friends, players, Cricket Australia and the general public. Cricket was Phillip’s life and we as a family share that love of the game with him. We would like to thank all the medical and nursing staff at St Vincent’s Hospital and Cricket NSW medical staff for their great efforts with Phillip. We love you.”
A doctor from St Vincent’s hospital who led the treatment of Hughes upon his arrival at hospital described the head injury from the blow as “catastrophic”.
“He had a massive bleed into his brain. This is frequently fatal at the time.”
Hughes was given a CAT scan which showed his head had filled with blood around the brain.
He then underwent surgery for one hour and 20 minutes which included removing some of the skull to remove pressure on the brain. He was transferred to intensive care.
“He did not make very much improvement as we know,” he said. “As a consequence of the injury, he died.”
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said “Cricket Australia puts its collective arms around the Hughes’ family,” adding, “Without a doubt he was a rising star whose best cricket was still ahead of him.”
“He will forever be remembered as one of the elite few to have worn the baggy green cap, cap number 408 to be precise,” he said.
Speaking outside the Sydney Cricket Ground, NSW Cricket chief executive Andrew Jones said Phil “grew up in NSW and is a former Blue and is held in the highest regard by his current and former teammates.”
“Just heard. In shock,” wrote actor Russell Crowe. “My deep condolences to the family of Phillip Hughes.”
Former CNN host Piers Morgan wrote: “RIP Phillip Hughes. An absolute tragedy for his family, Australia and anyone who loves cricket. Just awful.”
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